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Diu

Diu is a tiny island in the Arabian Sea near the port of Veraval in Gujarat and is separated from the southern extremity of the Saurashtra peninsula by a narrow channel running through the swamp. It is connected to the mainland of Gujarat by a causeway. There are also two tiny mainland enclaves. One of these, where the village of Ghoghla stands, is the entry point to Diu from Una in Gujarat. The total length of the coastline does not exceed 21km. Diu has excellent all weather road links with the major cities of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Baroda. The nearest railhead is Veraval, which is about 50kms away.

The island of Diu has a long and glorious history that stretches back into legends and mythology. It was believed that Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata spent a part of their fourteen years exile here. Legend has it that Diu was once ruled by the great king Jallandhar who was a daitya (Demon) and was killed by Lord Vishnu with his sudarshan chakra (Disc). Diu was ruled by the Mauryans during 322-320 BC and was the main trade center on the Saurashtra Coast. When the Mughal emperor Humayun attacked the Sultan of Gujarat, the latter entered into a treaty in 1535 with the Portuguese for their help against him. Diu was rewarded to the Portuguese Governor Nuno De Cunha, who constructed a fort in Diu and raised his arsenal. Governor Joao de Castro finally seized Diu in 1546. And like Daman it remained a Portuguese enclave till its liberation in 1961 along with Daman and Goa.

Diu is a sensuous blend of sun, sand and deep blue sea. It is a multi-ethnic society, since time immemorial. Traditionally, they carry on the life pattern of Gujarat and Saurashtra cultural region. Diu is an extension of Kathiawar cultural zone, which influence language, dress, food habits, customs and practices and other cultural elements. The ethnic mosaic of Diu comprises of Hindus, Muslims and the Christians (mostly Catholic).

The people enjoy rich traditional values, with folk dances forming an integral part of the culture. There are two traditional dances, the Gujarati Garbha and the Portuguese folk dances. A grand festival of culture and sporting activities is held for a period of 5 days from 19 to 23 December every year to commemorate Diu's Liberation Day, a good occasion for folk performers and traditional craftsmen to expose their talents and to keep the heritage alive.